The Best Investment Apps - SmartAsset (2024)

The Best Investment Apps - SmartAsset (1)

With both established brokerages and new companies offering investment apps, the options can be overwhelming. There are apps for every kind of investor, from the beginner just looking to dip a toe in the water to seasoned day traders who want to analyze individual stocks on the go. Check out our top picks.

Managing your investments on your own can be overwhelming. Find a financial advisor today.

The features that are most important depend on your investing goals and the budget you’re working with. We’ve rounded up a collection of apps for every kind of investor out there, whether you are making your first trade or have been doing it for decades. For each app on this list, we’ve provided user ratings on both the iTunes store (for iPhone/iPad apps) and Google Play store (for Android apps); they are current as of this article’s update.

Wealthfront: Best App for Low-Maintenance Investors

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Apple App Store Rating:5/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.6/5

Wealthfront, founded in 2008 and purchased for $1.4 billion in January 2022 by UBS, is a robo-advisor that invests your money in a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and (in some cases) individual stocks. Portfolios typically contain six to eight ETFs from a larger catalog spanning 11 different asset classes.

Once you’ve opened an account and answered a few questions about your goals and risk tolerance, Wealthfront will take it from there. Proprietary software will automatically rebalance your portfolio as needed, allowing you to focus on other things.

In terms of fees, you’ll face a 0.25% account management fee. However, if you refer a friend who then funds an account, both of you will have the fee waived for the first $5,000.

You’ll need at least $500 to open a brokerage account with Wealthfront. That’s high relative to other investing apps on this list, but it’s still a relatively low figure when it comes to investing. Also keep in mind that, since Wealthfront is a robo-advisor, you won’t be able to have a hand in fund selection or making trades.

Customers interested in cryptocurrency may now invest up to 10% of their portfolio in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Trust.

Betterment: Best App for Tax-Efficient Investing

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

Betterment, founded in 2008, has the distinction of being the first publicly available robo-advisor. Betterment’s software creates custom portfolios for each user based on an initial survey.

Betterment says that it wants to save its investors more on taxes than any other service. Like many robo-advisors (including Wealthfront and Stash), Betterment automatically conducts tax-loss harvesting on all accounts. But Betterment takes things one step further with its asset location strategy. This strategy helps clients with both taxable accounts and retirement accounts ensure that different investments are allocated into both accounts in the most tax-efficient way. For the investor focused on the after-tax return above all else, Betterment is an attractive choice. (Note: If you’re really focused on tax-optimizing your portfolio, we’d recommend finding a financial advisor who specializes in tax planning.)

Like Wealthfront, its most direct competitor, Betterment charges a 0.25% account management fee for its digital plan and 0.40% for its premium plan. However, Betterment has no account minimum, so you can start with as small an investment as you like.

With a premium portfolio, you can receive guidance on outside investment accounts and speak to certified financial planners (CFPs) over the phone 24/7. The premium portfolio comes with an account minimum of $100,000.

Acorns: Best App to Help You Save

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

If you want to start investing but aren’t diligent about saving money, Acorns may be the app for you. Acorns is a robo-advisor that saves your spare change for you.

Link your debit and credit cards to Acorn and the app will “round up” purchases on these cards to the next dollar. It then invests this “change” in a portfolio of BlackRock and Vanguard exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You can gradually save and build your portfolio without even realizing that you’re doing it.There are just a handful of pre-made investment options, which makes Acorns great for investors who don’t want to spend hours scouring research and comparing stocks

In addition to the spare change method, you can also set up one-time or recurring deposits in your investment account if you like. You can open a standard investment account called Acorns Core or an individual retirement account (IRA) known as Acorns Later.

While you can choose from a range of portfolios from conservative to aggressive, that’s the only customization available to you. The app charges $3 per month for a personal account and $5 per month for a family account.

M1 Finance: Best App for Stock Picking and Automated Investing

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

M1 Finance is an app for long-term investors who want the choice between hand-picking stocks and letting the app invest for them. With M1, investors can choose a model portfolio powered by a robo-advisor; manually select a portfolio of stocks (including fractional shares) and ETFs; or choose a mix of both strategies. The hybrid setup makes the app a great fit for investors who want some flexibility.

M1 offers a taxable account and an IRA account. Both are fee-free provided you invest at least $100 or $500, respectively. Investors who want a line of credit with a flexible payback schedule would need to have at least $10,000 in their account. With that they can borrow up to 35% of their account balance. For an annual $125 fee, you can upgrade from M1 Basic to an M1 Plus, which offers a lower rate on the line of credit (2.25% vs. 3.75%), more stock options and other benefits. On the downside, this app doesn’t offer minute-to-minute trading functionality or have much in the way of research materials. If you’re looking to read up on potential stocks or ETFs, you’ll need to do it outside the app.

Stash: Best App for Rookie Investors

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4/5

Stash is designed to help beginners make their first foray into investing. It caters to these beginners with its ample educational content and its Stash Coach feature. Stash Coach is part game, part educational tool, and it’s designed to help you better understand investing.

When you first download the app, you’ll answer a few questions to establish how risk-averse you’d like to be and what your goals are. Then, the app will suggest a collection of ETFs and individual stocks for you and populate the education tab with content tailored to your situation.

The actual act of building your portfolio will be up to you, as Stash only provides suggestions. However, the app may nudge you in a different direction if your portfolio isn’t diversified.

You’ll need only $5 to start investing with Stash, thanks to the ability to purchase fractional shares of the 110 individual stocks available within the app. With Stash Growth, you can open a taxable account with a retirement account (traditional or Roth IRA) for $3 per month or, with Stash+, a taxable account, retirement account and two accounts for kids for $9 per month.

E-Trade: Best App for Investment Selection

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.6/5

Google Play Store Rating:4.1/5

The E-Trade mobile app is for the trader who likes having a lot of investment options. You’ll have access to thousands of stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and more. There is no commission for online trading of stocks, mutual funds or ETFs, ,and there is no minimum balance required.

In addition to trading capabilities, the app has news and market analysis from CNBC, MarketWatch and Morningstar. You can also set up personalized stock alerts and compile watchlists of investments to more easily keep tabs. If you’d rather not do all the work yourself, you can chooseE-Trade Core Portfolio, E-Trade’s robo-advisor offering. You’ll need a minimum balance of $500, and you’ll pay a 0.30% fee.

TD Ameritrade: Best App For Research

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Apple App Store Rating: 4.5/5

Google Play Store Rating:3.6/5

The mobile app of TD Ameritrade, which was bought by Charles Schwab in 2019 for $26 billion, is well suited for the investor who wants as much market research as possible. There’s also a series of educational videos designed to teach you about different investing strategies.

Additionally, you can check up on your investments, view a breakdown of your portfolio and make trades, all within the app. Finally, you can set up alerts so that you’re notified of breaking news or when a stock hits a certain price.

There is no required account minimum. The firm offers free trades of equities and ETFs. Customers also have access to some 3,700 mutual funds with no transaction fees. Options trades are $0.65.

In addition to the standard TD Ameritrade mobile app, the brokerage firm also has a standalone TD Ameritrade Trading app, which mobilizes its “thinkorswim” trading platform. This is meant for confident investors who want more customization. Online stock and ETF trades are commission-free.

Tips for New Investors

  • If you find investing sizable amounts of money intimidating, you don’t have to do it alone; a financial advisor can be a great resource. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now
  • Diversify your assets across several asset classes and economic sectors. That way, the success of your portfolio isn’t overly dependent on one area of the market.

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As an expert in the field of investment apps, my comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience equip me to provide valuable insights into the concepts discussed in the article. I have closely followed the developments in the financial technology sector, staying abreast of the latest trends and innovations in investment platforms. Now, let's delve into the key concepts covered in the article:

  1. Wealthfront: Best App for Low-Maintenance Investors

    • Wealthfront is a robo-advisor acquired by UBS in January 2022 for $1.4 billion.
    • The app automates investments in low-cost ETFs and, in some cases, individual stocks based on user goals and risk tolerance.
    • Portfolios typically consist of six to eight ETFs spanning 11 asset classes.
    • Automated portfolio rebalancing is a notable feature, allowing users to focus on other aspects of their financial life.
    • The account management fee is 0.25%, with the potential for fee waivers if you refer friends.
    • Minimum investment requirement is $500.
    • Users interested in cryptocurrency can allocate up to 10% of their portfolio to Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Trust.
  2. Betterment: Best App for Tax-Efficient Investing

    • Betterment, established in 2008, was the first publicly available robo-advisor.
    • Custom portfolios are created for users based on an initial survey, with a focus on tax efficiency.
    • Tax-loss harvesting is conducted automatically, and an asset location strategy optimizes tax efficiency for both taxable and retirement accounts.
    • Account management fees are 0.25% for the digital plan and 0.40% for the premium plan.
    • Betterment has no account minimum, making it accessible to investors with varying capital.
  3. Acorns: Best App to Help You Save

    • Acorns is a robo-advisor that helps users invest spare change by rounding up purchases to the next dollar.
    • Investments are made in BlackRock and Vanguard ETFs.
    • The app offers pre-made investment options, simplifying the decision-making process.
    • One-time or recurring deposits can be set up, providing flexibility.
    • Acorns charges $3 per month for a personal account and $5 per month for a family account.
  4. M1 Finance: Best App for Stock Picking and Automated Investing

    • M1 Finance caters to long-term investors, offering a hybrid model that allows users to choose between robo-advisor-powered portfolios and manual stock selection.
    • Fee-free investing is available for accounts with at least $100 or $500 (taxable and IRA accounts, respectively).
    • Users with a minimum of $10,000 can access a line of credit, with an annual fee for additional benefits.
    • The app lacks minute-to-minute trading functionality and extensive research materials.
  5. Stash: Best App for Rookie Investors

    • Stash is designed to assist beginners in their first investment endeavors.
    • The app provides educational content and a Stash Coach feature for a better understanding of investing.
    • Users can start investing with as little as $5, thanks to the option to purchase fractional shares.
    • Stash offers different account plans, including Stash Growth with a $3 per month fee and Stash+ with a $9 per month fee.
  6. E-Trade: Best App for Investment Selection

    • E-Trade's mobile app offers a wide range of investment options, including stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds.
    • No commission is charged for online trading of stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs, and there is no minimum balance requirement.
    • E-Trade Core Portfolio is the robo-advisor option with a 0.30% fee and a $500 minimum balance.
    • The app provides news, market analysis, personalized stock alerts, and watchlist features.
  7. TD Ameritrade: Best App For Research

    • TD Ameritrade's mobile app, acquired by Charles Schwab in 2019, is suitable for investors seeking extensive market research.
    • The app includes educational videos on various investing strategies.
    • Users can monitor investments, view portfolio breakdowns, make trades, and set up alerts.
    • No required account minimum, and the firm offers free trades of equities and ETFs.

In conclusion, the article provides a detailed overview of investment apps catering to different investor preferences and needs. The concepts discussed cover a spectrum of features, including robo-advisory services, tax efficiency, spare change investing, stock picking, and extensive research capabilities. Investors can choose the app that aligns with their goals, risk tolerance, and preferred level of involvement in managing their portfolios.

The Best Investment Apps - SmartAsset (2024)
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